Archive for October, 2008

Football Photography X’s and O’s, Part 4: Equipment Analysis 2

Last time I left off, I had finished shooting my first football game and was left partially satisfied with most of my setup, yet wanting a bit more, especially on the very long end. For my second game the very next week, I traveled out with the team to Palouse, Washington, for an away game against the Washington State Cougars.

Clear skies in Palouse, WA at Washington State's Martin Stadium

Clear skies in Palouse, WA at Washington State

Since the wide and mid-range setup worked just fine, I decided to stick with that, but on the long end I brought a Nikon D200 and Nikon 400mm f/2.8 non-VR lens (Nikon, yucky!).

Long range: Nikon D200 with 400 f/2.8 (35mm equivalent: 600mm f/4.2)
Midrange:  Canon 1D Mark II with 70-200 f/2.8 IS (35mm equivalent: 91-260mm f/3.6)
Wide: Canon 5D with 24-70 f/2.8 (35mm equivalent: 24-70mm f/2.8)
Ultrawide: Canon 5D with 12-24 f/4.5-5.6 (35mm equivalent: 12-24 f/4.5-5.6

Handling the 600mm Beast

Compared to the Canon 40D with 1.4x teleconverter and 70-200 f/2.8 IS I had last time, the D200 equipped with a big prime like the 400 f/2.8 was a very different kind of beast.  To start off, the setup was far more clunky – while a 70-200 and 40D can easily sling over your shoulder or around your neck, and can be handheld without a problem, the 400mm is heavy and on top of that really needs to be used with a monopod.  This is problematic in a few ways:


Vincent Laforet’s 5D Mark II video “Reverie” reposted

As some of you might have noticed, Canon had to take down Vincent Laforet’s sample 5D Mark II video Reverie after an enormous amount of traffic.  Vincent’s recently reposted the video up, now hosted on SmugMug.  You can find the link here:

There’s also a behind-the-scenes video you can check out here:

Some comments on the video from a previous post:


With the recent announcements of the D90 and perhaps more prominently the 5D Mark II (since it actually has the features to make video usable… like AF and external mic jack), photography circles have been alight with excitement (and a fair amount of naysayer criticism) about video on SLRs.


It’s probably no secret where I stand on video capabilities for still cameras.  While we’ve seen only boring tripod-mounted sample videos so far, Canon’s just put out a short film, Reverie, made by Vincent Laforet:

Image quality is absolutely stunning, but I have to admit, the 30fps just kills me while I’m watching it – the level of immersion is just not the same.  The video world needs 24fps (or better yet, variable fps to any number!).  PLEASE.

JuzaPhoto’s Super-tele test

The Canon Superteles 

The Canon Superteles

As with all the other manufacturers, the pride and joy and “flagship” lenses of a lens manufacturer are its supertelephotos.  Say what you will about the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 or Canon’s 50mm f/1.2 – when it comes down to it, it’s the 300 f/2.8 IS’s or 400 f/2.8 VR’s of the world (or maybe the 200-500 f/2.8’s in Sigma’s case) that companies tout and wear on their chests like badges of honor.

A dpreview forum member, Juza_EA, who runs, a fantastic site with great technical insights and some sweet nature photography, recently posted up a lens test comparing the great Canon telephotos extended to the ultra-telephoto range (he tests 800mm, 1200mm, and 1600mm on a Canon 1Ds Mark III).

Direct test link here.

Lenses tested:

Canon 200 f/1.8
Canon 300 f/2.8 IS
Canon 400 f/2.8 IS
Canon 400 f/4 DO IS
Canon 600 f/4 IS
Canon 800 f/5.6 IS 

The lenses were combined with appropriate mix of 1.4x and 2x teleconverters to come up with the 800, 1200, and 1600mm focal lengths.

California Academy of Sciences Reopening

The Academy of Sciences "Living Roof"


The Academy of Sciences


Though it’s old news by now, the California Academy of Sciences recently reopened after a nearly 5-year reconstruction.  I was there for opening day of the new building on Saturday, 2008 September 27.

You can find the full gallery of photos here: Gallery Link

I was expecting a long line, and sure enough when I got off the #5 Muni at the northern edge of Golden Gate Park (around 10:30am) there was a throng of people stretching way past around the corner.  That’s okay I thought, I’ll just walk to the end…

DPReview’s Photokina Interview Series – Samsung

The Digital Photography Review ( today posted up the first in a series of interviews with execs at Photokina 2008.  The first one up is Samsung’s VP of digital camera marketing, Choong-hyun Hwang.

Given that these are business execs and it’s a business/consumer expo, the questions and responses here are a bit guarded and generic, but it still provides some neat insights into business strategies and where the future is going, in each company’s view.  Maybe they’ll have snagged down a real engineer for some of the other company interviews.